Nearly Half of Americans Rely on Food Delivery Services, Report Reveals

EduMe survey shows companies need to quickly add, train staff to meet surging demand
Photograph: Shutterstock

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — The pandemic has caused a huge shift in how consumers buy food, with a new survey showing 60% of U.S. consumers spend more money now on food delivery monthly than they did before the pandemic.

For many consumers, food delivery services have become part of their lifestyle, according to the report from eduMe, a mobile-based training platform for the deskless work force. No longer considered a luxury, food delivery is now essential for living:

  • 45% surveyed are now dependent on food delivery for themselves or their household.
  • Four in 10 Americans order food for delivery at least once a month.
  • 13% order food for delivery between two to six times weekly.
  • Nearly 22% spend an average of $50 to $99 more per month on food delivery than they did before the pandemic, and 11% spend $100 to $149 more per month.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made U.S. consumers more dependent on food delivery and outlines expectations for food delivery experiences,” eduMe said.

“With an increased demand for these types of food delivery services comes the need for more workers,” eduMe’s founder and CEO Jacob Waern said. “Companies need to work quickly to onboard, train and upskill their workforce.”

Blame Game

Since 2021, 63% of U.S. consumers have experienced at least one incorrect food delivery order, eduMe said. When an order is incorrect, late or has missing items, 27% of consumers blame the delivery worker and another 66% blame the business:

  • One in four have called the business directly to share their poor experience.
  • 19% have told friends and family not to use the food delivery service.
  • 24% have requested a refund.
  • 17% posted a negative review of the business on a review site.
  • 24% decided not to order using the food delivery service again.
  • 20% would not order from the specific business again.

As demand increases in this space, customer satisfaction and loyalty will live and die with the experiences provided by restaurant and food delivery workers, Waern said.

“It’s imperative for employers to understand this change in expectations, and, in turn, equip their workers with everything they need to provide a positive experience for the customer,” he said. “We’ve learned that a negative experience can directly impact the bottom line, so providing resources and an environment that fosters worker retention can only be beneficial to all parties involved.”

Lacking Loyalty

The report also showed there’s little customer loyalty in this arena, with 62% of those surveyed using between one to two food delivery services monthly and 20% using at least four. The reason for using multiple services might be a poor food delivery experience. Reasons people ask for a refund, complain to customer service or reduce a tip include:

  • Items delivered in poor condition: 57%
  • Damaged packaging: 34%
  • Poor attitude from delivery driver: 31%
  • Poor communication from the delivery worker: 23%

The report said that although food delivery services were a saving grace through the pandemic for customers and restaurants, customers expect more from delivery workers and restaurants as the country returns to normal:

  • 58% are willing to wait only up to 20 minutes after their estimated arrival time before contacting customer service or asking for a refund.
  • 12% would not wait a minute later than the estimated arrival time.

The survey’s sample size was 1,243 U.S. adults, of whom 801 have ordered food for delivery since 2021. These survey numbers reflect the 801 consumers. The online survey took place April 7 and 8.

EduMe’s training platform is used in more than 60 countries by companies including Uber, Gopuff, Gorillas, Marriott and Vodafone. EduMe is headquartered in London, with an office in Santa Monica, Calif.

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